Friday, April 30, 2010

AIDS Law Project of Pennsylvania


When I think of fundraising, I don't think about books, or book reviews, or the difference between e-books and print books. I think about helping groups or organizations that are committed to important causes. I have a few causes that are close to my own heart, and the AIDS Law Project of Pennsylvania is one of them.

Without the help of the AIDS Law Project of Pennsylvania, thousands of people living with HIV/AIDS wouldn't get the necessary legal counsel they need. And it's not just an LGBT issue anymore. This affects everyone across the board. So I wanted to post some general info about them, to help promote the cause and to inform any readers in PA who might be in need of legal counsel and can't afford to hire an attorney on their own. I'll be posting more in the future on this topic, but here's a general description of what they are all about.

Below is some basic info from their home page, and here's their link: http://www.aidslawpa.org/alpp_history.htm


The AIDS Law Project of Pennsylvania is a public-interest law firm founded in 1988 by Temple Law School graduate David W. Webber to focus on AIDS-related discrimination cases. At that time, before the Americans with Disabilities Act, no laws protected people with HIV/AIDS from discrimination, so Webber relied upon laws that prevent a worker from being terminated except in cases of incompetence or other non-AIDS-related causes. Webber led the organization before handing the reins to Nan Feyler, now chief of staff in the Philadelphia Department of Public Health. Current executive director Ronda B. Goldfein took over in 2000.

Now with a staff of 14 and a team of Drexel Law student-interns, the AIDS Law Project of Pennsylvania is still the nation's only independent public-interest law firm dedicated to AIDS and HIV. The organization serves all of Pennsylvania from its home base in Philadelphia. It has risen to the defense of more than 30,000 people free of charge, and has educated more than 32,000 others on AIDS-related legal issues.

In every corner of the commonwealth, information has been shared with doctors, dentists and other health-care providers; outreach workers; peer counselors; medical students; law students; college students; lawyers; people living in homeless shelters; the newly diagnosed, as well as long-term survivor support groups.

Each year, the nonprofit AIDS Law Project receives about 2,000 calls for assistance at its home office in Philadelphia. The agency also educates the public about AIDS-related legal issues, and works at local, state and national levels to achieve fair laws and policies. In 2009, the AIDS Law Project of Pennsylvania represented 1,343 people in 1,713 legal matters.


Thursday, April 29, 2010

Insurance Appeal, a Friend with HIV/AIDS, and a Happy Ending

Those who have been following me since last November, know that I've been working as legal power of attorney for a good friend who is HIV positive. He's disabled and can't work. For the past two years, he's been receiving disability from an insurance company. In November, the insurance company canceled his long term disability and said he was ready to go back to work.

So he asked me to help him appeal the case, which I did. And then I hired an attorney to help because I didn't want to take any chances. This is someone who is truly disabled, and I thought it was important to make sure everything was done correctly.

And this week, after six months of dealing with a grueling appeal, my friend was notified that his disability has been reinstated. Though we went through tons of paperwork while filing the appeal, I took my friend to an IME (insurance medical exam) that was set up by the insurance company a few weeks ago. This doctor works for the insurance company, and all she had to do was go over his past history and give him a basic exam and she could see he was in no condition to work.

It's a happy ending, yes. My friend is finally able to relax for the first time in months. But it would have been so much easier all the way around if the insurance company had just set up the IME six months ago.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Wishing Brett Michaels a Fast Recovery


It's no secret that I'm a pop culture junky. I can't get enough of it. I follow all the entertainment blogs, the art blogs, and even publishing blogs that I think are remotely related to anything pop cultural.

Many of my books revolve around pop culture themes, dealing with entertainment, from the television industry to the modeling industry.

And Brett Michaels is probably one of my all time favorite stars. I've been a fan of his for years, and in recent weeks I've been enjoying him on Celebrity Apprentice. So when I heard about his emergency appendectomy, I was shocked. And then when this latest problem happened with a brain hemorrhage, well, it was hard to believe. You never think people like Brett will get sick.
He's doing better now, but he still has a way to go.

So Brett, your fans are pulling for you. And there's an invisible candle burning here on this blog until you're well again. We know you're going to beat this and we know you'll be back to your old self soon.

Nice Review: THE GHOST AND MR. MOORE


MRS. MUIR, REDUX, March 9, 2010
By
M. H. SMITH "mykelsf" (SACRAMENTO, CA USA) - See all my reviews
Amazon Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: The Ghost and Mr. Moore (Kindle Edition) A re-telling of "The Ghost and Mrs. Muir" with a gay lead. This was a fun read with an almost identical story to the original Mrs. Muir movie. A lonely parent of one child, a housekeeper, a dog, a New England sea cottage and a damn fine looking, however dead, sea captain haunting the home. Updated to modern times and told with a lively cast of extra characters, it still stuck true to the formula. Mr. Moore 'ghost-writes' a book narrated by the Captain in order to save his home and never gives up on the love between them. The ending, although known to anyone who saw the movie, was sweet and tender nonetheless. An old story, to be sure, but re-told with wit and a deft hand with the narrative. I thoroughly enjoyed the read.

Friday, April 23, 2010

New Cover: ALL ABOUT YVES


Here's the new cover art for an upcoming ravenousromance release, ALL ABOUT YVES.

STARbooks Press is Having a Spring Sale This Week


I'm in a few of the STARbooks Press anothologies. Two of my favorites are UNMASKED: EROTIC STORIES OF GAY SUPERHEROS, and UNMASKED II: MORE EROTIC STORIES OF GAY SUPERHEROS. These are two books where I have two short stories (one in each book), and these stories won't ever be released anywhere else. So if anyone is intersted in reading them, you can find them at STARbooks Press.


And STARbooks is having a sale right now. Here's the basic info, and below that is a link to the web site.


ANNUAL SPRING SALE IS UNDERWAY!
FOR OUR WEBSITE MEMBERS ONLY:
TAKE 20% OFF EVERYTHING! ALL SHIPPING DEALS STILL APPLY!


Thursday, April 22, 2010

#1 Fictionwise Bestseller Sub-Genre List: From STARbooks Press to E-book Stand Alone


This stand alone keeps surprising me. When I found out that it was #1 on the fictionwise bestseller list for fetish erotica, I was a little stunned. I'd never thought of it as a fetish book. I always thought of it more as a quirky erotic love story, where two people meet by chance and begin a new relationship. But I guess it could be considered a fetish story, and I'm thrilled people have received it so well. http://www.fictionwise.com/servlet/mw?t=sub_browsebook&catid=39

No More Tim Urban?


Was I shocked last night. Seriously. With about three or four average contestants left on AI, Tim Urban is the one who went home last night? I didn't think he'd go to the final two (I think Bowersox will win), but I was hoping he'd at least survive the next two or three weeks.


Unfortunately, Tim Urban was one of the few reasons I watched the show this season. The quirky, cheesy Ford commercials they force the contestants to do had reached the level of intolerance for me. And when they sing those awful group songs, I just switch to another channel until they are over. But more than that, the songs these contestants are choosing this year are the worst in the history of the show.


I have a feeling that American Idol has seen better days, and now it's time for Glee to take over.



Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Equal Rights for Same Sex Couples

The following story has been going around the Internet all week. It's a sad story, but there are parts of it I don't understand. I've personally had legal power of attorney for a few people. I've been posting about helping a friend with HIV get his disability back for the last six months, and I've been his legal power of attorney throughout the process. And as legal power of attorney, I've had full control of the case. I have not experienced any discrimination and I've been treated with complete respect. So if these guys in the story below had all their papers together, and at least one was of sound mind and body, I don't understand how their legal papers were not recognized. Maybe it's a California thing? I don't know. But I do know that I've never had any problems as power of attorney.

Aside from these questions about the story below, it's time for gay and lesbian couples to have the equal rights they deserve. They should have the same rights straight couples have, without having to go out and get all kinds of legal documents to maintain their lives.

There is nothing more personal than how we wish to spend our final years. After decades with our loved ones there should be no dispute that we should get to spend our final moments together.

Unfortunately Sonoma County, CA treated Harold and Clay as if they were strangers.Harold was 88 and Clay was 77 when their 20 year relationship was assaulted by Sonoma County. Harold's time here was coming to an end. He was ill and life was further complicated when he took a tumble down the stairs of their home. Harold was taken to the hospital.

Like most same sex couples who are committed to taking care of each other in sickness and in health, Harold and Clay set up legal documents prior to their personal crisis that were supposed to tell authorities to honor their relationship. Clay should have been able to visit Harold in the hospital and make decisions about his care. Instead, the county and health care professionals refused to let Clay even visit Harold in the hospital.

Tragic as that was, the county was not done with this family. More brutality than any government should inflict on a family -- they separated Clay and Harold by placing them in different nursing homes. Remember, Clay was in good health. He was involuntarily committed.Kate Kendell, the National Director for the National Center for Lesbian Rights, a national legal organization committed to advancing the legal and human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people wrote for the Bilerico Project:Ignoring Clay's significant role in Harold's life, the county continued to treat Harold like he had no family and went to court seeking the power to make financial decisions on his behalf.

Outrageously, the county represented to the judge that Clay was merely Harold's "roommate." The court denied their efforts, but did grant the county limited access to one of Harold's bank accounts to pay for his care.What happened next is even more chilling.Without authority, without determining the value of Clay and Harold's possessions accumulated over the course of their 20 years together or making any effort to determine which items belonged to whom, the county took everything Harold and Clay owned and auctioned off all of their belongings. Adding further insult to grave injury, the county removed Clay from his home and confined him to a nursing home against his will.

The county workers then terminated Clay and Harold's lease and surrendered the home they had shared for many years to the landlord.Three months after he was hospitalized, Harold died in the nursing home. Because of the county's actions, Clay missed the final months he should have had with his partner of 20 years. Compounding this tragedy, Clay has literally nothing left of the home he had shared with Harold or the life he was living up until the day that Harold fell, because he has been unable to recover any of his property.

The only memento Clay has is a photo album that Harold painstakingly put together for Clay during the last three months of his life.Clay was eventually released from the nursing home following a lawsuit. A further lawsuit is pending against Sonoma County, the auction company, and the nursing home. A trial date is set for July 16, 2010.As important as this lawsuit is, there is nothing any government, court, or lawyer can do return the dignity and respect Harold and Clay were deprived. No authority will be able to return the last few months of Harold's life, or the chance for Clay and Harold to embrace each other one last time.

We need full legal recognition for same sex couples -- in name and law -- in every state in this country. We need it now.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

New Cover: Strawberries and Cream at the Plaza and Dawne Dominique


I saw this new cover art for a stand alone that hasn't been released yet and couldn't help posting about it. Dawne Dominique did the cover art, and she worked hard on this one. Very hard. And I can't tell her how much I appreciate it. This stand alone e-book is a little different for me. It's not an erotic romance this time. It's just a nice simple love story about two gay men who meet by chance and fall in love. I'll post more. But I wanted to thank Dawne first. It's always a pleasure working with her. Check out her web site and see what I mean. Just looking over her work is fun.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Has President Obama Ever Heard of Legal Power of Attorney?

I normally don't write about politics on this blog, and I'm not a very political person. I typically lean to the left, but not too far (smile). But this just hit too close to home and I had to blog about it. Recently, President Obama issued a statement saying that he wants hospital visitation rights granted to gays and lesbians. He told The Department of Health and Human Services that he wants them to establish a rule that says gays and lesbians cannot be denied visitation rights. Here's the link. http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2010/04/15/obama-orders-hospital-visitation-rights-for-gays-lesbians/?fbid=WlHBaxXf5Pl

And while this is all well and good, let's get real here, Mr. President. As an openly gay man I already have legal power of attorney for several friends who don't want their families involved. As most who read this blog know, I've been helping out a friend with HIV/AIDS get his disability insurance reinstated (post to come about this). I've even used my legal power of attorney during times of crisis in hospitals and there was no way they could deny me visitation rights...or any other rights...thanks to my legal power of attorney papers. Getting legal power of attorney isn't expensive and it isn't difficult. You get the papers, have them signed by witnesses, and then have them notarized. Any gay couple who doesn't have these papers needs to know how important they are. And it's not just about visitation rights either. Though visitation rights are important, it's more about being in control and making important decisions when families step in and try to take over. This hospital visitation rule doesn't look like it's going to do anything more than allow gays and lesbians to enter the hospital and visit. They still won't have the rights married couples have with their spouses as next of kin unless they have legal power of attorney.

So here's the deal, President Obama. We need legalized gay marriage in this country, and we need the same equal rights everyone else has. And throwing us a bone about hospital visitation rights, when most of us already have legal power of attorney, just falls under the category of insult. We supported you during your election, with a campaign that was based on hope and promise and well executed political speeches. Even though you didn't have half the experience other democratic candidates had, we gave you millions of dollars to get elected, and we've been supporting you ever since, from healthcare to the war in Iraq. Now it's time for you to give us a little support, stop playing politics, and stop insulting us with matters we've already learned how to take care of on our own.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Julian Fantechi: Romance Book Cover Model and Playgirl Centerfold






I posted about Julian Fantechi a few weeks ago and I wanted to do an update. Since then, I've gotten to know Julian better, and he's even a nicer guy than I originally thought he was. When I first met him he was offering a promotion to his fans. For $19.99, anyone could contact him and he'd send them a signed Playgirl Magazine and a head shot, and he'd donate five dollars of the $19.99 to the Humane Society.

Being a huge fan of the Humane Society, as well being a Julian fan (I'd never seen his Playgirl centerfold... but I'd always been a fan of his romance book covers), I contacted him. We started talking about his book covers and he sent me the info I'd need to receive the signed Playgirl Magazine he'd done.

The autographed magazine and the head shot arrived yesterday and it's really a great centerfold. And the fact that Playgirl is not in print anymore makes it collectible, too. So if anyone's interested in this offer, and helping the Humane Society, you can contact Julian here julian216@gmail.com and he'll send you the information you need.

The Humane Society is a good cause, and you get in touch with a fantastic guy at the same time.

Monday, April 12, 2010

A REGULAR BUD


Below is a new review from Twolips for A REGULAR BUD. The link to the review is in red, below, and I've posted the entire review below that. Thanks Tina...I didn't expect this.

A Regular Bud by Ryan Field



Written by Tina
Saturday, 10 April 2010



Rating: Five Lips


Noah, a construction worker by day, has a roommate named Preston. Noah is very normal, except for the kink he keeps hidden from everyone, even Preston. He loves to wear high-heeled white leather shoes and hold a cigarette in his hands when he gets himself off. He doesn’t smoke, just holds it, but the sensations that wash over him make him hornier than anything. When Preston’s straight-laced brother catches Noah in his secret kink, Noah gets a very unexpected surprise indeed.
Ryan Field has written a short but very sweet story in A Regular Bud, a tale about being yourself and having the person you love accept you as you are. Noah has always been a love 'em and leave 'em kind of guy who never lets his lovers know his secret kink, even though itreally get him in the mood. He never thought he could tell anyone, and then he meets Dave. Dave is more than meets the eye. He's someone Noah can be himself with. It was very heart warming to see the no holds barred acceptance, with no explaining as to why.

I loved these two and that that Dave was so accepting, even feeding into Noah’s fantasies. It was like soul mates meeting and knowing they belong together. When you want a short but hot bedtime read, try reading A Regular Bud. You'll enjoy it.
Last Updated ( Sunday, 11 April 2010 )

Friday, April 9, 2010

Excerpt: Dancing Dirty


When he reached the front of the building, he saw a large dark green car with New Jersey license plates. It was a late model Buick Riviera, with flashy chrome wheels and thick tires, custom pin-striping that wrapped around the entire body, and two large squares of dice dangling from the rear view mirror. And it was spotless. The paint glistened, the wheels sparkled and the windows resembled mirrors.
Junior figured it was best to just keep jogging and ignore the car. If he acted casual, no one would think twice. But when the driver’s door opened and Junior turned to look, he lost his footing and tripped on a large piece of gravel. As a runner, this wasn’t the first time he’d fallen. He experienced that awkward moment, the second his foot hit the piece of gravel, where he knew he was going down and there was nothing he could do about it. He threw out his right arm to brace himself for the fall, turning his head to the side so he wouldn’t land flat on his face and break his nose.
He skidded into the dirt on his left side, scraping his knee, but avoiding his face at the same time. He’d been prepared for the fall; he knew he hadn’t broken any bones and he knew he’d be fine. The only thing he cared about was the person in the car. He was hoping and praying no one had seen him fall. He despised the idea of falling in front of anyone, and he hated looking foolish in public.
But when he looked up, he saw a pair of pointy black shoes in front of his face. They were shiny and had two inch Cuban heels. His stomach turned and his heart began to pound. He closed his eyes for a second and grimaced, hoping it wasn’t who he thought it was.
“You okay, buddy?” a deep voice asked.
Junior rose to his knees and brushed sand off his T-shirt. He didn’t look him in the eye. There was a lump in his throat and he couldn’t find his voice. Of all the times he had to fall, why did it have to be in front of Carlo Pagano, the best looking man he’d ever met.
“You took some fall,” Carlo said, and then he reached for Junior’s hand and helped him to his feet.
“I’m fine,” Junior said. “I didn’t break anything. It looked worse than it was.” He bent his legs and stretched his arms. “See, nothing broken. I’ll live.”
Carlo pointed to Junior’s knee. It wasn’t dripping with blood, but there were bloody sections from where he’d scraped it on the stones. “You sure. Are you from around here? I could give you a lift home.”
Junior felt no pain. Even if he had hurt himself, he wouldn’t have known. His endorphins were already rushing because he’d been running, and being so close to Carlo made him feel the sensation even stronger. He clenched his fists and gritted his teeth. He didn’t want Carlo to know that he was so intimidated he could barely speak without stammering. He had to act normal; he had to force himself to be cool and calm.
“I live close by,” Junior said. “In The Farms.” It wasn’t that he didn’t want to give details about his life. He didn’t want to sound stupid and immature; he figured the less said the better he’d look. Then he looked at Carlo’s face for the first time. Carlo was wearing sunglasses and Junior couldn’t look into his eyes. But he was even better looking up close, in the daylight. His nose was the perfect length, his strong chin had a small cleft, and his skin was an unusual shade of olive and bronze. He reminded Junior of the gorgeous men he’d seen on those TV dance shows, those guys with the cool outfits, perfect haircuts, and strong confident expressions on their faces.
“I’m a dance instructor at The Farms,” Carlo said. “My name is Carlo Pagano.”
“I’m Junior,” Junior said, hating the way his name sounded coming from his mouth. He should have said his name was Maxwell. Junior was the name of a little boy, or a forty year old fat guy who still lived at home with his mother and father.
Carlo reached for his hand and shook it hard. “Nice to meet you, Junior.
Are you new? I haven’t seen you around before.”
Junior shrugged. “This is my first summer here,” he said. “My father knows Ben Timberlake.”
Carlo laughed and rubbed his jaw. “Good old Ben,” he said. It was hard to tell whether he was being sarcastic or faithful to his boss.
“I’d better get back to my run,” Junior said. The scrape on his leg was beginning to burn and he had a long run back to the house. Not to mention the fact that he was standing next to the best looking man he’d ever met and his hair was soaked with sweat, his shirt was covered with dirt, and his knee was scraped and bleeding.
“Maybe I should give you a lift back,” Carlo said. “I don’t mind. I was only stopping by here to pick up my wallet. Someone found it last night and the manager told me he’d leave it in the mailbox.”
Junior smiled and started jogging in place. “I’m fine,” he said. “But thanks for asking.” Carlo looked mean and rough, but sounded to nice and polite.
As Junior turned to leave, Carlo shouted, “Nice meeting you, Junior. I’ll see you around.”
Junior lifted his arm and waved it back and forth. His leg was killing him, but he focused hard on running smoothly so Carlo wouldn’t think he was awkward and uncoordinated. Junior had seen those gangly types jogging down the road, with their knees knocking together, their unsightly arms jerking in all directions, and their thighs jiggling.
When he reached the edge of the parking lot to cross back onto the road, he looked back quickly to see what Carlo was doing. Carlo was standing there, in the same spot where Junior had left him, with his legs spread wide and his hands shoved into his pockets, watching Junior jog down the road. Junior didn’t take a full relaxed breath until he was around the corner and completely out of Carlo’s sight.

You Can't Read Minds, So Don't Even Try

I read a lot of publishing blogs. I read them for information about the industry and I read them for the wonderful writing tips they provide. Yesterday, Nathan Bransford wrote a great post about the dynamics between two characters. And I learned something new. http://blog.nathanbransford.com/

But this post isn't about character dynamics. It's more about author/reader dynamics. Besides publishing blogs, I also learn a lot from reading reviews about my books. Whether they are good, mediocre, or bad reviews, I usually learn something. Yesterday I learned that it's not possible to read minds (smile).

In Dancing Dirty, I went into detailed explanations about the time period and how gay men related to each other in 1978. I did this in several sections of the book because I have a fan base that ranges from the early twenties on up and many of the readers have no idea what it was like back in l978. For example, the concept of safe sex hadn't come about yet because the AIDS virus hadn't reached the mainstream public. AIDS was around, but no one knew about it (or took it seriously) until the early eighties. I also went into detail about the time period because I've learned never to take anything for granted. In other words, I don't assume that a reader will know something. I explain it. And, we're not talking about pages of explanation here; just a few extra sentences here and there.

And yet one reader who reviewed Dancing Dirty thought I went into too much detail about the time period by repeating certain facts throughout the book. It was actually a great review, and I thank her for it, seriously. The reason I'm writing this post, though, is to show readers that authors do, in fact, take these things into consideration while they are writing. And if there's too much information...or what seems like too much information...it's only because the author doesn't want to take any chances with sensitive subjects. If I'd written this novel and not mentioned anything about what it was like in l978, I'm sure I would have had tons of e-mails slamming me for not mentioning safe sex practices.

Sometimes I wish I could go back and re-write certain things in certain books. And usually it's because I feel as though I've left something out. But not this time. The information about the time period in the book is valid, and I hope no one feels as though I've tried to insult their intelligence. Because I've learned there's no way to read minds and the more information about certain subjects the better it is for most readers in general. Personally, when I read any book I look for the detailed information all the time. And when it's not there I'm usually disappointed.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Update on my Friend with HIV and his Disability Insurance Appeal

As some of you who have been reading this blog know, I've been working with a friend and helping him with a disability insurance appeal. He is HIV positive, has chronic disabilities due to the fact that he didn't know he was HIV positive until it was almost too late, and his long term disability was canceled last November.

Even though I haven't mentioned this on the blog for a while, it's been a non-stop process since November and I've been working with an attorney to make sure I get it right.

And it's now down to the wire. Last week I drove him to Philadelphia for an IME. This is an Insurance Medical Exam, where he was checked out by an ID doctor the insurance company chose. The IME is the final stage of the appeal process. If his long term disability isn't reinstated after what the insurance company's doctor saw last week, there's something seriously wrong. And if this is the case, I intend to continue fighting this until we win.

But for now, I'm hoping for the best and I'm hoping his insurance is reinstated. He's been through more stress in the last three years than most people go through in a lifetime. And having long term disability denied, after all he's been through, considering all his physical disabilites, just isn't fair.

If You Have Any Questions about My Books...Thanks to "Elaine"

One of the things I personally hate most about searching through an author's web site or blog is feeling as if I'm being duped. Like when an author mentions that he or she has thousands of publishing credits without listing them clearly, or when I get ambiguous book descriptions that contain nothing more than wordy blurbs that tell me the book is "fascinating," "intriguing," and "heart wrenching." This sort of thing might have worked in the past for authors, because there was no way to communicate with them and we were forced to take chances on buying their books. But things have changed and I think authors should be available to answer questions about their books.

After a reader contacted me recently about one of my books, I thought I'd post something to let readers know that if they don't feel they are getting good descriptions of my books, please e-mail me and I'll give you more info about the book. One reader, "Elaine," wanted to know how one book ended. She had very specific reasons for this, and I was only too happy to oblige. This way she didn't have to buy a book that would disappoint her, and I didn't have to feel guilty about someone purchasing a book and being disappointed with the ending.

And if nothing else, whether you like my books or you don't, I work hard with my editors and publishers to make sure each book is described well and that people know what they are buying. And to take it one step further, please feel free to contact me if you have any additional questions.

There's a book coming out in the next few weeks titled, STRAWBERRIES AND CREAM AT THE PLAZA. I'll post more about it in the future, but this one is strictly romance. It's not erotic, there's very little sex, and it's more about relationships and falling in love on a first date. Another one coming out is ALL ABOUT YVES. This one is less erotic than my other books, too, and it focuses more on relationships and love than sex.